According to an article published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, smoking is responsible for the majority of laryngeal cancers in Central Europe.
Cancer of the larynx, or voice box, is a type of head and neck cancer. The majority of head and neck cancers are cancers of the larynx. Central Europe has some of the highest incidence rates of laryngeal cancer in the world. Because smoking is known to contribute significantly to the development of laryngeal cancers, researchers continue to evaluate potential links between smoking and other environmental variables and the risk of laryngeal cancer.
Researchers from Europe recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate the potential role of both tobacco and alcohol in the development of laryngeal cancers. This study included individuals involved in the Central and Eastern Europe Multicenter Study who had been diagnosed with squamous cell laryngeal cancers (the most common type of laryngeal cancers) between 2000 and 2002. Another group of individuals who did not have laryngeal cancers was also included in the study. Patterns of tobacco and alcohol use were evaluated among both groups.
- Approximately 87% of laryngeal cancer is attributed to the use of tobacco.
- 75% of laryngeal cancer is attributed to current tobacco use, while 12% is due to past tobacco use.
- Nearly 40% of laryngeal cancers are attributed to the interaction between alcohol and tobacco.
- Stopping smoking for five years or longer protected individuals against the development of laryngeal cancer.
- Alcohol use alone was not significantly associated with an increased risk of developing laryngeal cancer.
The researchers concluded that smoking remains a significant contributor to the prevalence of laryngeal cancers in Central Europe. The authors state that “Preventive efforts to encourage current smokers to quit are likely to be the most effective way to reduce the incidence of laryngeal cancer inthis region.”
Individuals who currently smoke may wish to speak with their physician about smoking cessation programs and screening for diseases related to smoking.
Reference: Hashibe M, Boffetta P, Zaridze D, et al. Contribution of tobacco and alcohol to the high rates of squamous cell carcinoma of the supraglottis and glottis in Central Europe. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2007; 165: 814-820.
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